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Canvasback

Aythya valisineria ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large diving duck, the Canvasback breeds in prairie potholes and winters on ocean bays. Its sloping profile distinguishes it from other ducks.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
18.9–22 in
48–56 cm
Wingspan
31.1–35 in
79–89 cm
Weight
30.4–56 oz
862–1588 g
Other Names
  • Morillon à dos blanc (French)
  • Pato coacoxtle (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The species name of the Canvasback, Aythya valisineria, comes from Vallisneria americana, or wild celery, whose winter buds and rhizomes are its preferred food during the nonbreeding period.
  • The oldest recorded Canvasback was a male and at least 22 years, 7 months old when he was shot in California in 1991. He had been banded in the same state in 1969.

Habitat


Lake/Pond

Food


Plants

Seeds, buds, leaves, tubers, roots, snails, and insect larvae.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
5–11 eggs
Egg Description
Greenish drab.
Condition at Hatching
Covered in down and able to leave the nest soon after hatching.
Nest Placement

Floating

Behavior


Surface Dive

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Canvasback populations have fluctuated widely. Low levels in the 1980s put the Canvasback on lists of special concern, but numbers increased greatly in the 1990s. Overall, average population size has been steady since the 1950s. The North American Breeding Bird Survey indicates that there may have been a small overall increase between 1966 and 2015. In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated a U.S. population between 740,000 and 860,000. The species rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Canvasback is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. This species is hunted in most areas where it occurs.

Credits

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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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